Sierra has upped the ante yet again in their 3D Ultra Pinball series. Building on the previous 3D Ultra Pinball and 3D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night titles, 3D Ultra Pinball: The Lost Continent provides the most sophisticated play that I have seen so far in a video pinball game. Not only does it serve up some of the same great features from the previous versions (such as extra-wide playing fields, four-player play, and outstanding 3D graphics), but it takes the storyline aspect to a whole new level by combining both adventure as well as arcade action into one very unique and addictive package.
New to this version is the addition of actual game characters with which you must interact in order to pass to each successive part of the plot. The characters are even given voices to remark on your progress throughout the game, whether it is acceptable or not. Animated in 3D, your companions are Rex Hunter, a bush pilot who is traveling with a famous inventor and zoologist, Professor Spector and his assistant Mary.
These adventurous travelers recently crash-landed in a prehistoric jungle trapped in a time dimension and it is your mission to help them find a way out. To do so, you must help them find the missing parts to their lost plane, which is their only means of escape. By guiding Rex and his party through the jungle (consisting of 15 inter-linking tables of play, along with one bonus table), you will encounter dinosaurs, prehistoric cavemen and savages, and the evil proprietor of the jungle, Doktor Hekla. Doktor Hekla’s hidden lab is one of the main keys to solving the mystery.
Luckily, as in the last version, you are able to save your game along the way. You’ll thank Sierra immensely for including this option, especially when you’ve got a T-Rex stomping around your playing field. Each table provides a multitude of secret shots and hidden mechanisms that can be activated as you direct the ball down certain paths. The sound effects and music are even more intense in this version and the animations dare to be rivaled.
There really are no drawbacks to be noted here. As a matter of fact, one final accolade is that the game is provided on a hybrid CD-ROM for both Mac and Windows machines. Past versions are only available on separate discs for each operating system.
If you are going to buy only one video pinball game to add to your arsenal, let it be 3D Ultra Pinball: The Lost Continent. Not only does the title provide authentic pinball action, but it also builds upon the genre by harnessing the power of its presence on the PC and creating a much more entertaining way to play the game.